Safe and Secure

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G'town window bars

Lately, I have taken an interest in what I'll call the architecture of security. That would be buildings that reflect a time when the environment was unsecure or high crime. These would include buildings that have tiny little windows and lots of concrete, such as the old Shaw library before it was replaced with the open and airy library. I'd also include bars on windows, like these from a house in Georgetown. When I was visiting New York, I took a few pictures of window bars there. Some are quite pretty.

"Don't you feel like you're in a cage?" is a question I hear when talking with someone where window bars are a rarity. "No," is my answer. When I am looking out the window, I look past the bars. Besides, I'm not caged in, but the world is caged out. The barred security door is a barrier between me and the fake Pepco workers and other random people who come to my door, who might wish harm. In an apartment the equivilant would be that little chain on the door.

Bars on windows and doors is a part of making our home secure, but I have noticed other efforts as others secure their homes. Alarms are great, but only work when they are on, as I can remember a few crimes that have occured at houses with alarms, but the alarm wasn't on or the theif managed not to trip the non-existant motion detector.

Another step some take is not to have anything worthwhile visible or make their insides hard to observe. Though some don't like being in 'a cage' they don't seem to mind being in a fishbowl. I do enjoy glancing into people's living rooms when walking down the street or being driven by the Help. I like seeing how differently people decorate their homes, but I'm sure people with less benign motives look in the same window and wonder what is worth stealing (besides decorating ideas). Some windows scream, "HEY EVERYBODY I GOT A 60" TV!!!! On the first floor." Many neighbors keep their lives very private with drapes, shades and blinds, so their movements and stuff cannot be observed by the man on the street. Also with the heavy drapes, you never notice the bars.

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